California could safely reduce its prison population by modestly reducing time served for low-risk offenders (something Gov. Pete Wilson did successfully), by transferring low-risk inmates to county supervision (as happened under Govs. “Pat” Brown and Ronald Reagan and by slightly reforming the parole system (partially enacted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and continued by Gov. Jerry Brown), former California corrections director Jeanne Woodford and Barry Krisberg of the University of California Berkeley write in the Los Angeles Times.
They note that several states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington, reduced their prison populations over the last 25 years, and research found that none of those states experienced an increase in crime or recidivism. If drug treatment and other reentry services were provided, the rate of repeat offenses often went down, Woodford and Krisberg said.